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Cardinal Health 4Q profit up 17 pct., shares fall

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) -- Cardinal Health Inc.'s fiscal fourth-quarter net income rose 17 percent, as growth in generic drugs improved profitability for the health care products distributor. But revenue remained flat, missing Wall Street expectations, and shares fell in Thursday trading.

The company reported net income of $236 million, or 68 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with net income of $203 million, or 57 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Stripping out acquisition-related costs and other one-time items, Cardinal's earnings amounted to 73 cents per share, the company said.

On that basis, the results beat analysts' average forecast, which called for earnings of 72 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue for the quarter was flat at $26.8 billion and below the $27.3 billion Wall Street expected.

Cardinal distributes pharmaceuticals and medical products and makes products like gloves and surgical apparel.

Sales in the company's pharmaceutical segment fell 1 percent to $24.3 billion, reflecting an increase in generic versions of drugs displacing pricier brand-name versions. Still, the segment's profit rose 15 percent to $354 million, because the less-expensive generics are more profitable, even as they result in lower overall revenue.

Revenue for the company's medical segment rose 5 percent to $2.4 billion.

For the full fiscal year, Cardinal's net income was $1.07 billion, or $3.06 per share, compared with net income of $959 million, or $2.72 per share, last year.

Full-year revenue rose 5 percent to $107.55 billion from $102.64 billion the year before.

Cardinal expects that its adjusted fiscal 2013 earnings per share will range from $3.35 to $3.50. The outlook falls short of the average analyst forecast of $3.55 per share. Analyst estimates range from $3.35 to $3.67.

Shares of Cardinal Health fell $1.64, or 3.9 percent, to end the day at $40.89. The stock has traded between $37.53 and $46.23 in the past 52 weeks.